So far, this summer has been quite relaxing, and enjoyable…for the most part.

About a month ago in my hometown; Mason, MI, the music program in the middle school and high school have once again been placed on the list of things that will be cut by the so-called Board of Education. To say the least, Mason’s band program is still active, despite the changes that the Board has made (I can not go into any further detail on this subject since this is all I know).

You’re probably asking yourselves, “How does that relate to the subject of this blog?” Before I answer that question directly to you, let me talk about a very interesting and motivating interview that has helped me think of how to reach opportunities as well as landing on your dream job.

Recently, I have listened to a few interviews conducted by Sirius Radio’s shock jock Howard Stern. Despite being notorious for being outspoken, controversial, and uncensored material, Stern’s interviews with many of the celebrities are priceless; they’re extremely informative. One interview in particular completely changed my view on jobs and one person: Lady Gaga (of all the people right?). From the 75 minute interview, the most interesting section was when Gaga explains the struggles and hardship she went through to go from Stephanie to Gaga. They relate to some of our struggles and hardships, though none of my music education graduate friends never dropped out of college, haha. For instance: Gaga attended Tisch of the Arts in NYU for one semester studying musical theatre, dropped out due to the “biased education” she was receiving, she moves into an apartment in NY, worked as a waitress and as an employee at a music publisher company, none of her parents helped her with money, and Gaga was on drugs. It wasn’t until one year later, Gaga was able to get a contract deal from Def Jam.

Stern later asked her what advice would you give to an artist who’s great but struggling to get to the top. The concise answer from Gaga: RISK. That’s the answer.

In order to be successful in music, business, show business, math, science, teaching, in general, you need to take risks to stand out from the rest of the crowd. If you’re too preserved and have a résumé that is typical for a recent graduate, then chances are, it’ll be harder for you to find the right job. If you are outgoing, versatile, a leader, and confident, along with an experienced resume that could wow the employer, then your chances of getting a job are higher than the average Joe. I’m not trying to scare you about job hunting: it’s a fact. I take risk all the time, since my degree, music composition, is a competitive degree to find a job since only doctorate graduates and talented master graduates can get, and those jobs are quite limited. Who knows, I could work at a university as a teacher in music composition, but instead I might work for a music publisher like G. Schirmer, or be a manager of a music store, or become a sales representative of a product.

What I’m trying to say, and I bet you have heard of this all the time, is that you need to take risks, patience, work your tail off, and when in doubt, always have a backup plan.

This post is dedicated to my music education friends who graduated from the College of Music at Michigan State University last month. Class of 2012!

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